Cabrito Tapas & Bebidas is a refreshing newcomer on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. Laid-back and lively, it offers some different, more local twists on tapas.

Cabrito is one more sign that everything Spanish in Vancouver is again flourishing.

I went during wine festival, hosted by Wines of Spain. Our group jumped at the chance to taste through the menu.

We were seated in the area which, now that summer’s almost here, should be a popular patio.  A full width ‘garage door’, the entire front of Cabrito swings up to show off its inviting space. (In winter the area is well protected by a wrap-around awning. And very effectively heated.)


Cabrito: Old meets new

The menu is broken down into:  Mordiscos (small bites), Ensaladas y Sopa (salads and soups), Embutido (cold cuts), Verduras (vegetables), Carne (meats), Pescado y Marisco (fish and shellfish), Quesos (cheeses), and Postres (desserts).

Scallops with parsley, celeriac & jamon Serrano with sweet potatoes

Scallops with parsley, celeriac & jamon Serrano with sweet potatoes

Traditional tapas are side by side with more inventive takes. You can settle for familiar roasted Basque chorizo, lustily garlicked prawns or smoky patata brava. Or go for ingenious—and utterly delicious—fresh beet ‘tartar’ with quail egg.

Beet tartar with quail egg

Beet tartar with quail egg

Not to mention irresistible lamb ‘lollipops’ or queso salad of blue cheese and mixed greens. On offer too, some serious jamon, including Serrano, Bresaola and Iberico de Bellota.

Cabrito's specials gang above the bar

Cabrito’s specials hang above the bar

This reborn coffee shop has a pleasing industrial, ‘bare bones’ feel, nicely balanced by warm wood tables. Ruling one entire wall with a burst of colour is a striking mural by Yared Nigussu.

A bold mural adds colour

A bold mural adds colour

Despite its Spanish persona, Cabrito actually has a strong French connection. Owner-chef Alexandre Carrière’s well traveled resumé includes stops at notable kitchens from across Europe to Vancouver, including lumière and, more recently at (the late) Le Parisien. However, Alexandre had always wanted his own place. And jumped at the chance when it arose.

Well traveled chef Alexandre Carrière

Well traveled chef Alexandre Carrière

Carrière’s rigorous classical French background combined with his knowledge of authentic Madrid  tapas provided the ideal springboard.

Cabrito sherries

With a couple of exceptions, wines are faithfully Spanish and well researched, making this the perfect spot to head for sherry and tapas. Specials change daily, promoted by chalkboards over the bar. A nice touch: you can order a flight of sherries to try with different tastes.

The name ‘Cabrito’ means ‘baby goat’. But you won’t find it on most Canadian menus. You’ll still have to go to Spain to get your suckling goat fix…

It’s good to see yet one more serious tapas bar—along with some decent wines and sherries.

Plus Cabrito really hums—and feels like the real thing. Yet one more reason to head on over to The Drive.

See you there!

Cabrito, 2270 Commercial Dr., 604-620-7636.

Tell-tale signs of a good evening ...

Plenty of glasses and good bites all add up to a good evening …